City of London – 12th September 2022

Another big day of touring today. Our tour guide Karen, has done an amazing job of getting us around as well as booking all our activities and scheduling them. We have done and seen a lot of stuff thanks to her masterful planning abilities. Today was no exception!!!

First order of the day was to make our way to the Sky Garden on top of what is affectionately known as the Walkie Talkie. It is located in the City of London – will explain later what this means exactly. After the Walkie Talkie was built, it was discovered that the southerly side of the building acted as a magnifying glass and with the sun searing off its windows it melted parts of an expensive car on the pavement below and people also demonstrated how you could fry an egg on the concrete. The solution was to place louvre type arrangements to break up the impact of the sun.

A very speedy ride to the 36th floor for what was a spectactular view on a clear London day. You can easily make out Tower Bridge and to the left of Tower Bridge is the Tower of London.

When looking down on this splendid view and the expansiveness of the River Thames, it made us realise just how crazy we were to have tackled the beast in a narrowboat. Ovbiously we are starting to lose touch with reality.

It is pretty easy to locate the Gherkin in this photo but there is also another very famous building to the left called the Cheese Grater.

Looking west towards St Paul’s and as the river curves to the left is the London Eye and Parliament House which are both out of view.

Now we need to define what is the City of London. We were totally oblivious to exactly what we were referencing when saying the City of London. It is a ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central business district of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the modern area named London has since grown far beyond the City of London boundary.

The city is now only a small part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London.  These distinct bollards indicate the boundary of where the City of London is.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (differentiated from the phrase “the city of London” by capitalising City) and known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi (716.80 acres; 2.90 km2) in area. 

It was then off to Leadenhall Markets.

It is one of the oldest markets in London, dating from the 14th century, and is located in the historic centre of the City of London financial district.

It was certainly an undiscovered gem for us. Karen use to work in the business district so is very familiar with what is around. Miles still works in the area.

It was then onto another hidden treasure.

We were still within the City of London where Karen took us to St Dunstan-in-the-East Church. The church was largely destroyed in the Second World War and the ruins are now a public garden.

The church was originally built in about 1100. It was also severely damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Following the Second World War it was decided not to rebuild St Dunstan’s, and in 1967 the City of London decided to turn the ruins of the church into a public garden, which opened in 1971. A lawn and trees were planted in the ruins. In the short period of time that we sat there to rest our weary legs, we could see the gardens were well utilised and not a hint of rubbish was to be seen.

We have seen a few of these Police posts on our walk today. They were important tools for the Metropolitan Police from the late 1920s until the late 1960s. Love how they leave these remnants of history behind.

It was then off to Liverpool Station to meet up with Miles and then walk to the Dirty Dick pub for dinner.

This pub was only 250 years old.

After dinner it was off again on another walk. This time we were on a guided walk of the Whitechapel area for a Jack the Ripper expose. There were a few interesting facts about the murders that we were not that aware of.

  1. The five confirmed murders took place between 31st August and 9th November 1888. This was only a period of six weeks.
  2. At about exactly the same time, newspapers were starting to make their mark which resulted in over a million papers sold to the public in this period. This made for a huge distribution of the news nationally and internationally.
  3. Four of the murders happened in Whitechapel whilst one was in the City of London. As there was no collaboration between the City of London police and the Metropolitan police, there is thought that this stymied finding the Ripper.

Following our wanderings around a spooky Whitechapel we then dropped into The Hoop and Grape pub which was built in the 1300s.

History is just leaking out of the stone and woodwork all around us. It was then a weary foursome who made it home having achieved 20,000 steps with our feet feeling like stumps.

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